We hired our first Harbor School Graduate as a full time employee! Since graduating from Harbor School, Luis earned his 100-ton captain’s license and now works driving boats for New York Water Taxi. However, Luis’s true passion is Marine Science. This year, he has committed to following through with his dreams and is back at Harbor School as a full-time Teaching Assistant in the Vessel Operations and Aquaculture programs. Luis is taking college courses in the evening to pursue a degree that will allow him to be a full-fledged Harbor School Career and Technical Education teacher in the future.
On June 5, 2011, four Harbor School students participated in the “I Challenge Myself” Century Ride, along with 4 other high schools. All four rode across the finish line after an intense (13-hour!) day, which started in Van Cortland Park in the Bronx, made its way to Carmel, NY on Old Rail Trail and returned to Van Cortland Park. All their preparation paid off! Nice work, bikers!
Harbor School celebrated several awards this winter. The school won the Rising Star High School Award from Blackboard. Teachers Ann Fraioli and Roy Arezzo were awarded the Sloane Award for Excellence in Teaching in Mathematics and Science for the innovative Introduction to Harbor curriculum. Ann is our Field Coordinator, Introduction to NY Harbor Teacher, and Co-chair of our Career and Technical Education Department and Professional Advisory Committee. Roy is the Science Department Chair, Sustainability Coordinator and AP Environmental teacher. Senior, Alpha Francois, was awarded a full scholarship to Wheaton College through The Posse Foundation and will enroll in the fall of 2011.
Harbor School proudly hoisted our school flag on the historic first day of school on Governors Island. After eight long years, Harbor School was finally offering classes on the Island. For the first time, the newly renovated Building 550, students and fish filled the newly renovated Aquaculture Lab. Students began to measure and cut wood in the Marine Technology Workshop. Students walked to Pier 101 to get to the boat instead of travelling over an hour from Bushwick to reach water. Students, teachers, and administration joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Chancellor Joel Klein, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, UFT’s Michael Mulgrew, EPA’s Judith Enck and many outside supporters gathered on October 4, 2010 to celebrate the momentous occasion with a “Net Cutting” ceremony. Our staff eagerly looked forward to using our new campus in the middle of the Harbor to increase student engagement and achievement. We happily accepted the charge of the first residents of the Island since the Coast Guard abandoned it in 1995. We celebrated academic success as well: we received a second “A” on our New York City Department of Education Report Card.
On September 13th, Classroom on the Water, a 30 minute documentary about our school premiered on NYC Life TV.
We officially incorporated our Board of Directors as the 501(c) 3 nonprofit, New York Harbor Foundation.
The construction concluded on Building 550 on Governors Island, our new home. Some features of our new building include: a dishwasher in the dining hall to limit the waste we produce, an esturaium in the lobby of the building filled with species only from New York Harbor, an aquaculture lab, our first Harbor School dedicated library, boat building shop, composting facilities and an outdoor basketball court alongside our garden. About 100 students enrolled in summer school for courses like Art and Science of the Harbor and Rowing.
We completed our last semester on the Bushwick campus and packed up all of our belongings in preparation for our move to Governors Island.
New York Harbor School became The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School to align our work with our network of 21 small, themed, college preparatory schools around the city.
We embarked on our first year of summer school on Governors Island by successfully combining our standard summer school curriculum with maritime and environmental programs.
We received an “A” on our New York City Department of Education report card and held our first graduation on Governors Island, giving us all a little taste of our future home.
We began our second to last school year in our Bushwick building, along with the three other schools: Bushwick School for Social Justice, Academy of Urban Planning and Academy of Environmental Leadership, that shared our building and remain in Bushwick.
We graduated another class and construction began on our future building on Governors Island! 80% of our seniors graduated on time in 2008. 95% were admitted into college, including Cornell, Skidmore, SUNY Maritime and SUNY Stonybrook.
We graduated our first class at South Street Seaport Museum with a graduation rate that more than tripled the rate of Bushwick High School which we had replaced! Members of this graduating class went on to attending SUNY Maritime, work as captains in New York Harbor for Water Taxi, and pursue degrees in many other schools.
We joined The Urban Assembly’s network of 17 schools (soon to be more) in the newly formed New York City Department of Education Empowerment Zone.
Following a highly competitive process, we won the bid to be the first tenant of Governors Island, located in the heart of New York Harbor.
With our first class of juniors, we began planning in earnest for the college application and admissions process that lay ahead.
Our school and supporters remained thrilled with the completion of our first year. With the original freshman class becoming sophomores, and a new incoming 9th grade class, Harbor School more than doubled in size.
We opened our doors in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Eight highly qualified and dedicated teachers (five of whom still remain on staff in 2011) got on board for the first year. 125 students, 90% of whom fell “Below” or “Far Below” grade level in math and reading, began the pilot year.
Our proposal was approved leaving us with just a few months to find a facility, create a plan, develop curriculum, hire staff, and enroll students in time to open in September 2003.
Fisher and Kahan responded to New Visions for Public School’s Request for Proposals for new schools with NEW YORK HARBOR SCHOOL. Immediately, Waterkeeper Alliance and South Street Seaport Museum came on board as Founding Partners. A team of high school students, parents, teachers, partners and Nathan Dudley, the eventual founding principal of Harbor School, worked together to craft a proposal that they ultimately presented to New Visions for Public School, the Department of Education and several large funders including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Murray Fisher, who worked at Waterkeeper Alliance, posed the question to Richard Kahan, President of Urban Assembly, who started two innovative public high schools in the Bronx; what about a maritime high school?